One of the best places to dine on Metairie Road is Byblos, named after what might just be the oldest city in the world in what is now Lebanon. For more than 17 years, New Orleans locals and visitors alike have been getting their gyro fixes here (it’s only about a 10-minute drive from the Central Business District), and they’ve been introduced to more authentic Mediterranean recipes here as well. This time around, we decided to forgo the gyro and be a little more adventurous. We’re glad we did.
We started with Drunken Halloumi, ouzo-flambéed cheese, extra virgin olive oil and garlic over tomato slices. Three come in an order so it’s a great app to share. And because Byblos is also known for its falafel, we shared some of these deep-fried balls of ground garbanzo beans served with taratour (a lemon-sesame) sauce. Both made us hungry for what was to come which is pretty much what appetizers are supposed to do.
For our main courses, two of us ordered the Chicken Shwarma, thinly sliced chicken tenders prepared with lemon juice, garlic and aromatic spices. Shwarma, in case you never took the time to look it up, is a Levantine meat preparation where lamb, chicken, beef and other meats are grilled on spits (like the vertical spits you see in restaurants). We’ve always heard that nobody does Shwarma better than Byblos and they were right. Another one of us ordered the Fish Kabobs, made with Gulf fresh (never frozen) amberjack. It was so good, one of us went back the next night and ordered it for dinner. Our entrees were served with Greek salads or grilled vegetables, hummus, pita bread, and little slices of cucumber for dipping.
Because you can’t write a review without researching the desserts, we obliged by ordering the Baklava and a special dessert made with ice cream, pistachios and some other lovely ingredients we were too busy sampling to remember. As you might suspect, we weren’t able to keep our promise to take "just one bite" of either.
Byblos was founded in 2000 by Tarek Tay, Gaby Saliba and Hicham Khodr of the “3 of a Kind” restaurant group. Along with their traditional sit-down restaurant on Metairie Road, they will open a new location just off Magazine Street where Flaming Torch used to be at 737 Octavia Street.
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